WHAT KIND OF MUSIC ARE YOU GROOVIN’ TO THESE DAYS?

What kind of music do you like to listen to? If you are part of the Baby Boomer crowd, my guess is that you love the music of the sixties, seventies and eighties. A few of us also enjoy the fifties. But guess what? We are not alone! Many people under the age of forty, and many even under the age of thirty, are listening to the same stuff!

According to Ted Gioia, music and culture writer for The Atlantic,  old songs represent 70% of the music market today. As he writes, “The song catalogs in most demand are by musicians who are in their 70s or 80s (Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen) or already dead (David Bowie, James Brown).”

Apparently I am like many Boomers who feel that the older tunes had more melody and more interesting harmonies, not to mention words that we could actually understand. When Gioia asks his Boomer friends why they prefer the old music, they often tell him, “There will never be another Sondheim….Or Joni Mitchell. Or Bob Dylan. Or Cole Porter. Or Brian Wilson. I almost expect these doomsayers to break out in a stirring rendition of “Old Time Rock and Roll,” much like Tom Cruise in his underpants.” What could be wrong with that? “Old Time Rock and Roll.” “Tom Cruise.” “In his underpants, no less!” Sounds good to me.

What do you think? What are your favourite songs? Do you find yourself going back to your old playlists or are there newer songs you’re “groovin’ to” these days? Would love to hear from you!

Happy Birthday to my son Lachlan who turns 32 today! One of his very favourite songs is “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf, a favourite also of his Boomer Dad.

Now back to that “Old Time Rock and Roll!”

How Gratitude Can Improve Your Health

Have you noticed how COVID is making you grumpy? My Boomer friends who are still working complain that they are tired of staring at a screen all day and the many zoom meetings they must attend every week. Boomer friends who have retired are telling me that this is not the retirement they had hoped for and are upset they have had to ditch all their travel plans. Boomer grandparents miss seeing their grandchildren. Add to this the worry that many of us have about adult children who cannot find steady work or frail, elderly parents who need our care, and you have a recipe for a very stressful life. The only one who is benefitting from this horrible virus is the family dog, who gets to see a lot more of its now working-from-home human family and way more walks.

It is easy to see why many Boomers are feeling dispirited and why our lives are now often given over to worry and complaining. I see this in my work too. People who were normally positive and optimistic, always full of praise for others, now only seem to see the negative in situations. They are worried, understandably, about budgets and ratings and whether we are going to make it or ever be the same again.

Alas, it turns out that all this negative thinking is not good for our health, creating stress both emotionally and physically. According to psychologists Maier and Watkins, the stress caused by negative thinking can actually make us much more susceptible to colds and flu — and perhaps now Covid as well? Stress can also lead to greater inflammation, which may result in cardiovascular disease, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.

So what to do?

Believe it or not, one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and avoid ill health is by practising the art of gratitude. In fact there is an abundance of scientific research that shows that positive emotions, like reflecting on what you are thankful for, can undo or potentially reverse the harmful impact of negative emotions. (Fredrickson, 2001).

That is why I was delighted to receive this you tube video from a friend the other day. (Thanks, Bruce!) It reminds me of another song — a wonderful, old hymn which I remember my grade 4 teacher singing to our class (in the days when we could still sing hymns in public school): Count Your Blessings. Here is another one that has much to which to commend itself. Counting one’s blessings can produce increases in positive emotions and thereby reduce one’s chances of serious illness.

Why not give this song a listen and sing along!

How to Honour the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Most of us who are Boomers can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when it was announced that, tragically,  Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. While I was just a young child at the time, I do remember how devastated people were by the news. Yet, inspired by MLK’s dream for a better world, people continued to fight for equal rights for blacks and all people of colour. If the horrific events of the last couple of years have anything to teach us, it is that now more than ever we must renew our resolve to work for justice for everyone who suffers from discrimination, whether it be because of the colour of their skin, their race or religion, their gender or sexual orientation, their age or differing abilities, their economic or social class.

As Boomers and older adults we still have a role to play in this fight. We can act as witnesses to the powerful legacy that Martin Luther King Jr. left us. We can share our stories with the young people in our lives. We can read aloud his “I Have a Dream” speech and invite them to consider how together we can carry on the work of this great man.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.”

Now in the second half of life, many of us are in a unique position to give back to our churches and our communities. If MLK were among us he would be the first to remind us that there is something more important than bread and cars and air-conditioned rooms and that the world needs us. It is never too late to think about what our legacy will be to the generations that follow us. Not sure where you can best serve? Check out Volunteer Canada.   In London, Ontario, you can also check out Volunteer London. But wherever you live, you can find information from your local municipality about the various organisations that desperately need your help. Don’t forget that churches and faith communities need good volunteers as well, as does your local school.

Remember: You can make a difference. Why not honour the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and start today!

Let’s Try to ELIMINATE THE ‘AFTER’S’ FROM OUR LIFE!

A friend sent this to me the other day. The author is unknown but the words are so powerful I have decided to share them with you in today’s blog post.  Hope you find them as helpful as I have!

 “Barely the day started and

it’s already six in the evening.

Barely arrived on Monday

and it’s already Friday.

.. and the month is already over.

.. and the year is almost over.

.. and already 40, 50 or 60 years

of our lives have passed.

.. and we realize that we lost

our parents, friends.

.. and we realize it’s too late

to go back.

So.. Let’s try, despite

everything, to enjoy

the remaining time.

Let’s keep looking for

activities that we like.

Let’s put some color in

our grey.

Let’s smile at the little

things in life that put

balm in our hearts.

And despite everything,

we must continue to enjoy

with serenity this time we

have left.

Let’s try to eliminate the

afters..

I’m doing it after.

I’ll say after.

I’ll think about it after.

We leave everything for

later like ′′ after ′′ is ours.

Because what we don’t

understand is that:

Afterwards, the coffee

gets cold.

afterwards, priorities change.

Afterwards, the charm is

broken.

Afterwards, health passes.

Afterwards, the kids grow up.

Afterwards parents get old.

Afterwards, promises are

forgotten.

Afterwards, the day becomes

the night.

Afterwards, life ends.

And then it’s often too late.

So.. Let’s leave nothing for

later.

Because still waiting to see

later, we can lose the

best moments, the best

experiences, best friends,

the best family.

The day is today. The

moment is now.

We are no longer at the

age where we can afford

to postpone what needs

to be done right away.”

It Looks Like An Eternity,

But It’s A Short Trip,

Enjoy Life And Always

Be Kind. 

  • Author Unknown

A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR

I pray that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were happy and meaningful, even though it was necessary, again this year, to keep the festivities quieter and more intimate.

Recently I have been reading a wonderful book by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal, Wise Aging. Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit. While the authors draw mostly from their background in Jewish wisdom, they also reflect on Christian and Buddhist traditions, making their book ideal reading for Boomers and older adults of many different backgrounds.

One ritual they recommend is one that I have decided to make my New Year’s practice this year. It’s based on the Jewish bedtime Sh’ma or prayer, which invites us to examine our conscience at the end of the day and reflect on our frustrations, or the hurts that we have experienced (or inflicted) and how these have impacted our relationships.  By fully forgiving those who have hurt us, either intentionally or unintentionally, and by acknowledging our own failings and weaknesses, we are ready for our evening rest and able to look forward to a new day and a new beginning.

Why not give it a try before you close your eyes tonight?

I now forgive
all who have hurt me,
all who have done me wrong;
whether deliberately or by accident,
whether by word or by deed, or by thought.
whether against my pride, my person, or my property
in this incarnation or in any other. May no one,
be punished on my account.

May it be Your will, Eternal One, My God and the God of my parents, that I be no more bound by the wrongs which I have committed, that I be free from patterns which cause pain to me and to others, That I no longer do that which is evil in Your sight.   May past failings be wiped away in Your great compassion, Eternal One, And may they no longer manifest through pain and suffering.

Let my words, my thoughts, my meditations, and my acts flow from the fullness of Your Being, Eternal One, Source of my being and my Redeemer. AMEN.